Blogging and Materialism

If you read this blog regularly you are probably aware of our desire to live a simple sort of life. Reuben and I dream of owning enough land to grow plenty of fruit and veggies and have chickens for eggs, so that we can produce a lot of own food. We love vintage and thrifting, and buying secondhand or handmade where possible. We understand that no amount of material stuff will make us happy and that the best things in life are free. We try to live within our limited means and for the most part, we do pretty well.

Most of the time blogging really inspires and encourages me in persuing this kind of lifestyle. Blogs like this one remind me that true richness comes from home, family and living a good life. Blogs like this one show me that with a bit of thriftiness, you can turn a little into a lot. I see beautiful DIY projects and gorgeous thrifted frocks in Blogland and I think “I don’t need huge amounts of money to have nice things! I can be resourceful and creative and thrifty! Vintage is best! I can save money and save the environment too!” And mostly, I really truly believe all that. 99% of the time I am perfectly happy turning our old toilet paper rolls into seed pots, buying secondhand dresses that I can alter to make pretty, and decorating our old house in thrifted afgans. I really like all those things!

But if I am to be very honest with you I must admit, sometimes I do struggle.

Sometimes I think it would be a lot easier and more fun if we’d just hurry up already and buy a brand new record player, rather than waiting to find the right one secondhand. Sometimes the pile of dresses I have not yet gotten around to mending gives me the absolute horrors. Sometimes I hate every vintage cardigan in my wardrobe and I just want something shiny and new. Sometimes I think I’m actually not very good at craft and DIY. Sometimes the sight of our tiny, ancient kitchen (and the knowledge we likely won’t be able to afford a place of our own for a long time) makes me want to cry. And sometimes blogs make the desire for things much, much stronger.

There are only so many pictures of gorgeous girls in lovely new dresses that I can stand before find myself wide awake at 2am, browsing online stores and obsessing over silly, material objects. I’m getting much better at resisting but sometimes I still make purchases I shouldn’t. I believe that blogs have the same (if not more) power of magazines and television to make us desire and buy things. After all, these are real people with amazing wardrobes! And pretty houses! And loads of gorgeous stuff! And why can’t I have that too?!

I think it’s perfectly natural to want to surround ourselves with beautiful things that make us happy. I certainly don’t encourage living in a cardboard box and wearing a potato sack just to pinch pennies. But we have to learn to aquire lovely things within our means. We need to balance the desire for material stuff with our finances and the lifestyle we lead. I really, really love pretty dresses but I simply can’t afford a trip to the Modcloth checkout every time a blogger shows up in my feed wearing a cute outfit.

Of course, it’s not the fault of those fashionable bloggers with the fancy houses that I sometimes buy things I shouldn’t. My money is my responsibility. I have to learn to control my shopping reflex. I have to remind myself that I cannot have everything I want. I have to accept that there will always be others with more than me. I have to focus on the fact that having every beautiful thing known to mankind is not in sync with the lifestyle I want. And I have to tell myself that, although those shoes are lovely, the joy of them will be shortlived. I will not be happy if I can’t afford to pay my bills.

Do you ever struggle with blogging and materialism? Do pretty outfit posts and beautiful house tours sometimes make you crazy jealous? Please tell me I’m not alone!

Katie x

PS That little succulent terrarium pictured cost me almost nothing to make and is one of my favourite things. It is possible to have lovely stuff without spending lots of money, it just takes a little more imagination!

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Katie

About Katie

Katie is a tea drinking, jewellery making, op-shopping daydreamer. Katie likes vintage dresses, Pictionary, doilies and colourful tights.

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64 Responses to “Blogging and Materialism”

  1. johanna May 10, 2012 at 11:53 pm #

    hi! thanks for this post. :) yea, youre def not alone. many many hugs.
    jo (SWE)

  2. Jodi May 10, 2012 at 11:59 pm #

    Yes, you are not alone even in the slightest. So many of these blogs leave me wondering. Ok only one person works in the household yet they have money for trips, fancy clothing, new bags, fancy camera’s and the list goes on.

    I get that a lot of the things these people buy are secondhand but they also purchase A LOT of it so at the end of the day things add up.

    We are both working; making good money, and working hard for it. We have a 4yo daughter and are still struggling. I get angry or upset when the blogging world always looks like pretty dresses and fab reviews of products most of us cannot afford.

    You and Ruben are living a great life; and you are far better at finding happiness in the small things than I could ever be.

    You are not alone :)

    • Katie
      Katie May 11, 2012 at 10:46 am #

      Yes, secondhand certainly DOES add up! I have to remind myself of that too. Sometimes I catch myself thinking “thrifting doesn’t really count as shopping” but of course it does! All those little, unexpensive things really add up. And whether the things be new or old, do we really need so much STUFF anyway? Probably not! :)

  3. Meredith Taylor May 10, 2012 at 11:59 pm #

    you are definitely not alone! even reading my favorite bloggers talk about their thrifting drives me nuts sometimes because quality thrifting in nyc takes a lot more money than i have. but perspective helps… my little family is working hard to move closer towards our dreams and that amazing dress or gorgeous sofa isn’t going to get us there! all things in due time. love.

  4. Deerly Beloved Bakery May 11, 2012 at 12:08 am #

    Oh this post was written for me! I do the exact same thing! My modcloth wish list is huge after a browse of my fav blogs! (Even tho I have never actually bought any pretty dresses from there because of lack of cash). Then I give myself a good talking to about how I don’t need all that stuff, that I have a wonderful family and need to help the planet by not being over excessive with material things! You are not alone X

  5. Joy May 11, 2012 at 12:13 am #

    Oh how I so agree Katie….. my husband and I are thrifty and frugal because we have to, we have no choice. I don’t work and only get a reduced pension, husband works but for basic wage only. Yes, to a certain extent I have been thrifty and frugal all my life and wouldn’t want to be a rampant materialist but sometimes, just sometimes I would love new clothes instead of make do and mend and charity shop finds,we would love to be able to take a holiday, I would so love to splurge out on expensive knitting yarns instead of having to look for bargains or knit with acrylic…but then we don’t starve, the bills get paid, we have a lovely little house even though we have a mortgage to pay;true there is nothing left over but we save every spare penny we have and when we can we have a day trip somewhere. I can sew and knit , make cards, bake, make jams and preserves and these gifts are always, always well received and appreciated….but just sometimes I wish…..

  6. Emily May 11, 2012 at 1:30 am #

    I completely and wholeheartedly agree. I’m always trying to think of ways to make my blog pretty and professional looking. I lust and drool over everything in the windows of the Anthropologie I pass whenever I go to work. I’m such a sucker for materialism but I’ve been trying to get away from that lately. I’ve been trying to think of ways to be more thrifty and crafty. For the past few months, I’ve been looking for DIY projects to tackle when I get home.

    I love that little succulent dude! I’ll have to copy :)

  7. Sarah May 11, 2012 at 1:32 am #

    Oh, wow. I really needed to read a post like this right now.
    I’ve been struggling with money and saving, mainly because I’m just so bad at it. This post and the others you linked to gave me so many ideas for ways to be creative without going out and buying new materials to use. I definitely need to sit down and assess all of the things I have, be grateful, and learn not to spend every time I see something I like. This is a wonderful post. :)

  8. amy t schubert May 11, 2012 at 1:38 am #

    I love this. Thank you so much for sharing ….

    I actually have made myself stop following fashion-related pinterest boards and try to skip as many fashion-related blog posts from my favorite bloggers as I can.

    I stopped listening to a well-known scrapbooking podcast because I thought there was WAY too much focus on the stuff, and not nearly enough focus on the memory keeping.

    I try to keep the STUFF part out of my blog as much as I can ….

    Not because we’re poor, or because of any simple-is-best philosophy … but just because I don’t want to be spending my money on THINGS when I could be spending it on vacations or being able to quit my job ….

    But my biggest weakness is home improvement. We bought a house 2 months ago and I think about the work we want (and have) to do constantly. It’s especially bad because I can convince myself that I *need* to spend the money on wall paint right now. and we *need* to buy a guest room bed (even though our visitors have slept on an air mattress for the last 5 years of visits).

    It’s rough. It requires ‘constant vigilance’ to resist that temptation… and honestly, I’m not sure it will ever get easier….

    But we’ll see…. Good luck!

    xo

    • Katie
      Katie May 11, 2012 at 10:58 am #

      Oh, our guests sleep on an air mattress too! Haha! And I can completely understand that not being able to make home improvements straight away would be hard. If/when Reuben and I get to the point where we can afford to buy a home, we will be looking at older houses that we can work on over time, and I just know I will find it SO hard to tackle projects slowly and not be able to do everything at one. I am so impatient!

  9. Amanda A May 11, 2012 at 1:38 am #

    Hi dear. Oh my goodness, you are NOT alone. Not at all. We are on a limited budget and I wear 80% thrifted/vintage. I am on week two of a second-hand pledge, and it’s been really eye opening. It’s those small things that add up. Why do we think we need so much stuff? I hear you. For example, we want a nice old cabinet for our records — I have the perfect one in my imagination. But then sometimes I want to say screw it, I am sick of these records everywhere, let’s just go to ikea! But, in the end, I know I will find what I love, and it will have a history, and it will be well-made and last forever (maybe!). :) I actually have stopped following a lot of blogs lately. My new rule is: Do you make me feel good? Do you inspire me? Good! Do you make me feel bad about myself? So long with you. Thank you for this small space where I can be reminded that it’s not what we have that matters, but what is in our hearts.

    • Katie
      Katie May 11, 2012 at 11:05 am #

      Oh yes, I am all too aware of the allure of Ikea! Haha. And that is a great rule for following blogs! I used to read a lot of fashion magazines but I stopped because they made me feel bad about myself and made me want to buy a ridiculous amount of unnecessary stuff. I might just have to do the same with blogs, or at least cut back on how often I read the ones that turn me into a crazy, jealous lady!

  10. Sasha May 11, 2012 at 1:52 am #

    Many people need to live like this (myself included) – You are definitely not alone! I like to highlight things on my blog that people of nearly any budget can enjoy – Recently my boyfriend, Jim, and I have been exploring our local national and state parks in our free time. It only costs a couple dollars to get in and you could spend all day there getting up close and personal with the environment around you :)

    Of course I dream of the day in the far future when we will hopefully be able to move somewhere we love and have a home of our very own (with a gas stove and lots of counterspace!) – It’s okay to dream about these things – It gives us something to reach for – There’s no shame in that!

    • Katie
      Katie May 11, 2012 at 11:12 am #

      Oh yes, I am all for dreaming! I dream of a big old house, lovingly restored, with lots of natural light, timber floors and an agar, a giant veggie patch, fruit trees and chicken coup in the yard… The dreams are what get us through the rough days!

  11. robbie. May 11, 2012 at 2:07 am #

    there are quite a few blogs that i had to stop reading because they led to such insane impulse buys. i try to stick to buying only vintage/secondhand but even that gets pricey sometimes. it’s hard to accept the fact that i’m not elsie larson or danielle thompson sometimes, but i have my own quirky voice, and so do you! we are pioneers :-)

    • Katie
      Katie May 11, 2012 at 11:13 am #

      We are pioneers! Oh, I like that! ;)

  12. Maria May 11, 2012 at 2:25 am #

    Thank you soooo much! I always think it’s just me who struggles over what to spend money on and whether I need to, and everyone else must just be so much better at it than me. I feel like printing out this post and tacking it to my wall with little highlighted portions as reminders. I’m a single mom of four with a full-time job, and sometimes I just feel like I should just go ahead and give in and buy clothes from whatever store is having the sale instead of trying to seek more thrifty ways of doing things — for myself, too! Reading about someone who’s working through similar feelings and is so creative with her ideas is such an inspiration and just the message I needed today. I was on the Old Navy site right before I read this! (Didn’t buy anything, though. Good thing. Not in my means at the moment. But I digress.) Carry on, and thanks again!

    Off to work and make a list of things to sew with stuff I already have…. :)

  13. Frankie May 11, 2012 at 3:22 am #

    This is my main objection to blogging. It really makes me want to buy so many things. I try very hard to control my spending, but it’s hard. Blogging makes it harder. There’s a book I want to read that discusses spending that I think might be beneficial, called Cheap: The high cost of discount culture. Have you read it/ heard of it?

    • Katie
      Katie May 11, 2012 at 11:19 am #

      No, I haven’t heard of that one, but it sounds good! Will have to check it out. I think most of us are guilty of forgetting the real costs of consuming so much stuff. That top may be on sale, but what is the REAL price? How much does it cost the environment during it’s production? The workers being paid a few cents to create it? The earth when it goes into landfill? Such important things to consider!

  14. Karolina May 11, 2012 at 3:30 am #

    I see what you mean. I think the big problem lies in comparing your own life at all with what you read in blogs. I don’t get jealous over things and clothes so much, but I constantly get stuck in comparisons of my how my life is with how life is represented in many blogs. The thing about blogs and other social media is that you tend to only write about the good things. And that is fine, why dwell on the things that isn’t going so great in life? Secondly, the reason that I follow many blogs is that they offer so much inspiration by doing just that – focusing on the good things. But I think it is essential to remember that everyones lifes has its ups and downs and that having a nice garden for example always comes with lots and lots of work.

    Thanks for a truly inspirational blog!

  15. Nicole May 11, 2012 at 5:32 am #

    I am SO in agreeance. I can’t even express to what extent. My everyday life is simple and lovely and it doesn’t revolve around needing a brand-spankin’ new dress. And then I sign into Blogger and look at my blog roll and I see all of the things I don’t have. It’s so silly to get jealous when I know my life is great and I know I have more than I need, but there is just something about these pictures of perfection that create a jealous monster inside of me.
    Thanks for writing this.
    (You have a new follower in me!)

    I hope you’re having a simply lovely day.

    ~Nicole.

  16. Jane @ Shady Baker May 11, 2012 at 7:45 am #

    Hearing you Katie…just as all your other lovely blog friends have said! Balance on all these issues can be tricky thing, even balancing how many blogs we read is tricky?! Happy Friday :)

  17. Natasha May 11, 2012 at 7:52 am #

    I like things and I know I have too much clothes, but I buy mostly from charity shops these days, so I don’t feel too guilty. I think we should all learn that having a few special things is better than lots of things you don’t really care about. But I live in South Africa, so I’m painfully aware of how incredibly lucky I am to have anything at all. I see very poor people living in shacks with no running water or electricity every day. I know that I’m in the small percentage of people who don’t have to worry about having enough food, never mind all the other things we want.

    • Katie
      Katie May 11, 2012 at 11:26 am #

      Exactly Natasha! The fact I have a computer and internet connection that allowed me to write this post in the first place proves how extremely fortunate I am. I have everything I could possibly need. Sometimes I catch myself obsessing over material things but when I put my “needs” in perspective and think about all the people going hungry in the world… Well, I just feel ridiculous really!

      Oh and I totally agree, much better to have a few special things than many unspecial things!

  18. Kristin May 11, 2012 at 8:12 am #

    Oh I so hear you on this. It’s so hard t resist those impulses and I’m always wondering how many single income families in blog land manage to afford all the shiny stuff they have! And with another baby on the way comes a whole new urge to spend, spend, spend on shiny things around the interwebs.

  19. Florence May 11, 2012 at 8:12 am #

    This comment started out long enough to be a blog post of it’s own LOL but all I wanted to say is that:-

    Yes, I used to feel the pressure that certain blogs create with their newness and the money required to replicate that. But your blog has completely reminded me how lovely my own life is and that I can have nice things whilst still living within my means. When we take away the pressure of keeping up with the Joneses and appreciating what we have – not because we’re settling for “good enough”, but because its perfect for us – then we can all be happier people. Plus there is a certain peace that comes with living organically and not being wasteful.

    So thank you :-)

    • Katie
      Katie May 11, 2012 at 11:28 am #

      “When we take away the pressure of keeping up with the Joneses and appreciating what we have – not because we’re settling for “good enough”, but because its perfect for us – then we can all be happier people.” I could not have put this better myself! Thank YOU Florence! x

  20. melynda May 11, 2012 at 10:03 am #

    definitely not alone! husband and i are just starting out in our simple life adventure and it does get tough more often than not!

    x

  21. Lil May 11, 2012 at 10:15 am #

    Hi Katie! I just wanted to say how spot on you were with your post. Sometimes I need reminding that as a stay at home mumma I don’t need to have the latest….anything:) Yes, these bloggers that everyone speaks of seem to have it all…. but a photo captures only about 60 degrees of a 360 degree world :) I also wanted to say how much I love your blog. I read it always. It is so great to see two aussies doing so well in blog land! Lil x

    • Katie
      Katie May 11, 2012 at 11:32 am #

      Yes, exactly! Our blogs represent such a small fraction of our whole lives/selves/worlds. It is crazy to compare ourselves to such a little sliver of someone else!

      Thank you so, so much for your lovely words about House of Humbe! <3

  22. kirsten May 11, 2012 at 10:47 am #

    I think sometimes it’s good to question how ‘real’ those other bloggers really are. I find many bloggers are sponsored by companies, given special things to promote, and it’s not entirely clear from their writing. It can be difficult to accept what you have. I get that too. My passion is books. And I find it so hard not to just go into a bookstore every day and buy one. I love bookstores and browsing, and the feel and look of them on my shelves. If I started looking at e-books too, I would be a goner! But what you are doing, the beauty and simplicity of it, is special and unique.

  23. Sarah May 12, 2012 at 2:38 am #

    I totally know what you mean – I am seriously watching my pennies at the mo and can’t afford to give in to the lure of such things.

    My main weaknesses are bags. I love them.

    I used to let myself bargain shop at thrift stores/ bargain shops but can’t do that now cos I overdid it!! ( The things were always cheap individually but I just bought too many of them…)

    Dang!

    Sarah
    http://www/acatlikecuriosity.blogspot.co.uk

  24. Joanna May 12, 2012 at 3:22 am #

    Since I started reading blogs I have been much more aware of my spending, and decided to try and live a thriftier life style. Reading blogs instead of magazines must have saved me a few pounds!
    I’m now pregnant with our first (and possibly only) child. Pretty much 95% of babies stuff has come from second hand sources, one way or another. This would probably never have happened if I hadn’t started reading blogs which inspired me to consider other options rather than just buying new.
    However, I couldn’t agree more that many of the ‘thrifting’ bloggers seem to have unlimited supplies of money and lots of time to devote to it. It is important to remember that the blog is only a glimpse of their life, and photos don’t show the more mundane sides of life.
    I do have to reign myself in though, it’s so easy to get carried away with blog envy. Like many of the others have already said, I remind myself I am very blessed with my life, it might not be perfect, but it’s pretty darn good.
    Joanna x
    p.s. love the new blog design!

  25. Lindsay @ Trial By Sapphire May 12, 2012 at 3:31 am #

    Katie, I usually wait to “feel out” a blogger before I start following them on Twitter and FB and starting commenting. (Why do I sound like blog reading is the same as starting a relationship?!) However, I am completely and utterly enamored with House of Humble, because it is exactly what I want my blog to be! I’m not a fashionista. I’m not an interior decorator. I’m not rich. I’m a vegetarian who is confident that my life can be full of joy despite all of that. And my husband and I have been “cleaning up” out lifestyle for the last year. (We just moved to the country too!)

    As a blogger, materialism is something that I constantly have to fight too. Everyone’s What I Wore posts temporarily leave me feeling like I’m lacking… but I’m not. :-)

    I admire your blog, and I can’t wait to catch up on everything that you and Rueben have been doing over the last year!

    New #1 fan,
    Lindsay

    • Katie
      Katie May 12, 2012 at 10:25 am #

      Thank you so, so much for your lovely, kind words Lisndey! You’ve made our day! x

  26. eliza May 12, 2012 at 5:36 am #

    i absolutely have that same problem! it’s difficult. i wish i had more space in my home, i wish i had more amenities, more income (specifically more disposable income!). i really dislike feeling poor, but it happens at least once per pay period! but ultimately, i would always rather have my bills paid.

    my one (possibly) useful piece of advice is this: when i’m on pinterest i try to avoid pinning the multitudes of beautiful outfits that i have no access to, and only pin outfits which i feel i could recreate from my wardrobe. it helps to remind me of the possibilities that i already own.

    good luck!

  27. Kristen May 12, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    thanks for posting this! It’s difficult being in that place, but you aren’t alone, as so many have said! Keep at it! You inspire so many, including me:)

    love the new blog header!

  28. Teresa May 12, 2012 at 9:21 am #

    You are definitely not alone in these thoughts!

    I use to be quite bad and a bit of a online compulsive shopper. If I liked a dress I saw on Etsy. I’d buy it. Without really thinking about whether or not I’d need it or how often I’d wear it. I don’t often buy things (new clothing mostly) from physical retailers but sometimes, some things really are so shiny and pretty! I think shoes are a major weakness for me in that regard.

    However, like yourself. I try to buy most of my things secondhand. It can be frustrating waiting for the right table or kitchen accessory to come along but when it does… the wait is so worth it!

  29. Angela May 12, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    Preach it sister!

    I have had to ban myself from blogs, pinterest and online magazines because after leaving the sites I was jealous and just wanted to buy everything.

    I’ve limited myself to inspiring blogs with less of a materialistic focus. I love your blog and Down to Earth and other blogs that focus on a simpler way of life.

    I still struggle with it though, somedays I’d love to go DJ’s and buy a bucket full of makeup.

  30. Jennifer Keene May 12, 2012 at 11:39 pm #

    ‘Fast Fashion’ is something I’ve only recently (5 years or so) struggled with. I’ve shopped vintage and thrift for years but since turning 30 I’ve felt a personal pressure to buy new. Why? My friends have new cars, new homes, kids, etc…and I can’t/won’t even buy a damn sweater that isn’t used? I don’t usually fall for that mindset though (yay!) but when we are bombarded by ideas, ideals and lots of STUFF then it I think it is natural to consider why we choose the lifestyle we do. Just know that living a 2nd hand lifestyle and living simply gives us more time to savor what we do have. Plus, I want my choices to contribute to the environmental impact of ‘Fast Fashion’ as minimally as possible.

    Stay strong and know you’re not alone!

    Jennifer

    http://gritsandmoxie.blogspot.com/

    http://www.ethicalinstyle.com/ethical-in-style-resources/ethical-labels-explained/the-environmental-impact-of-fast-fashion/

  31. Marnie May 13, 2012 at 2:52 am #

    Seriously a beautiful post, Katie. And something that I was thinking about today while I am struggling to finish my education and start my own business! I get discouraged by the blogs that I read too. You are certainly not alone, I am just so glad that you actually had the courage to say it! Thank you for posting!

  32. lisa May 13, 2012 at 4:16 am #

    Yes! I am right there with you! I recently started a second hand pledge to curb my impulse shopping. I started feeling like I would buy too many things that I saw fashion bloggers wearing- things I thought I had to have because they were so pretty. It’s funny because I quit buying most magazines because they made me feel like I needed more stuff and then turns out some blogs/pinterest/etc were giving me the same feeling. Thank you so much for this post, just another reason you guys and your blog are so inspiring!!

  33. Cynthia May 13, 2012 at 6:22 am #

    I know what you mean, Katie. My husband and I moved 2000 miles away from our home last summer and took no furniture with us. For the first few months I went thrifting every weekend to try to find tables, chairs, lamps, etc. It was hard not to be able to buy/find what we wanted right when we wanted it. At the same time though, it was exciting when we finally found what we were looking for. But you’re right, clothes are the hardest to resist!

  34. Meg May 14, 2012 at 6:39 am #

    Oh my goodness, I TOTALLY resonate with this. So much so, that for Lent, I restricted myself to looking at blogs only on Sundays. I used to look at them every single day… and slowly realized that this was causing me to become very dissatisfied with my own life (at no fault of the bloggers themselves). God has blessed me with an amazing life, and even though we may only live in a one bedroom apartment (that is rarely perfectly clean and organized), can’t afford to buy fancy things all the time, and can’t afford to do our creative pursuits full-time… we are at the same time so blessed to have our apartment, so blessed to be able to pay our bills without pinching pennies, so blessed that God gives us creativity. And above all, He has blessed us with wonderful, supportive families.

    Lent has passed, of course, and yet I still restrict myself. My mindset has totally shifted to being thankful for God’s blessings. Slowly but surely, He is also helping me to shift my mindset from being stingy (“because I have so little!”) to being generous (“because He has given me so much”). Totally by the grace of God.

    Thank you so much for sharing this struggle! I really appreciate when the blog world gets realistic about personal issues, recognizing that no one has the perfect life.

  35. Paige M May 14, 2012 at 6:50 am #

    Bravo to you! I have to constantly remind myself this and my mantra is love is the prettiest *thing* of all, and you seem to have plenty of that and it’s awesome what you guys are striving to do for your house. It’s an inspiration but that you can be so open and honest about that struggle and still power through is so admirable. You make me want to strive for this lifestyle even as I’m in university and for when I graduate I hope to live as simply and joyfully. Keep doing what you’re doing becuase it’s incredible and amazing and so many other adjectives. Yay!

    I love you guys <3

  36. Jazziefizzle May 14, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    Totally agree! We are on a student budget and yes there are always things that we want and dream about, especially while having a peak into the lives of others via their blogs. Fashion blogs just make me want so much stuff that I have stopped reading any that aren’t inspiring and are all about the ‘stuff’, it is so unpleasant to read some of them. I have switched to cooking blogs, crafting blogs and ones full of positivity and it has made my outlook so much better! The great thing about food and cooking is that most ingredients are affordable and you can make it yourself at home, unfortunately the healthy diet issue has to come into it too haha.

    I read a quote before you posted this that is in exactly the same vein:

    ‘happiness cannot be travelled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living each minute with grace, love and gratitude’

  37. Raynor May 14, 2012 at 10:41 pm #

    This was lovely, Katie!

    I know what you mean, and it can be hard. I think we’re lucky in that that satisfaction in having done something ourselves – whether that be growing our own food, altering or making our own clothes or little DIY projects – is often enough to keep you going. I’m not known for my self control though, and I often give in, and it’s usually things that I can’t make myself like video games and technological gadgets. I do love my gadgets! But, these things were sent to try us, and we must rise above! ^_~

  38. Ellana May 19, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

    Nope…not at all alone…I am struggling with this problem at this very second…. thank you, you may have just saved me some money….
    maybe hehe ;)

  39. Kathleen May 22, 2012 at 12:03 am #

    I agree—

    There are so many all caught up in the rat-race….it would be fabulous if everyone would afford themselves an hour or two to reflect on where they are, what they have and want and whether they are truly happy!!!

    Sometimes they would be so surprised with what they come up with.

    Cheers!!

  40. Angela May 22, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

    Oh I totally agree! I really admire you and your man for making the move from city to country and for creating a simple life valuing the things that are really important to you. I so badly want to do this too! My husband and are are trying to live a simple-ish life in the suburbs and it’s often so hard to balance everything. I try to make most of my own clothes and be creative and thrifty in the way we live and decorate our home. I find it gets hard when I start comparing myself to others whether they be friends or stylish bloggers. Suddenly my homemade or second hand clothes seem crappy compared to my friends’ new outfits. Our home doesn’t seem good enough compared to our friends who have just renovated and bought brand new furniture etc. I am trying to learn to recognise when I’m doing this and realise that if I stop comparing myself to other people and focus on my own values that I am actively seeking and living out – I realise I am happy and have everything I need. Thanks for being so inspirational! :)

  41. Jess May 29, 2012 at 10:42 am #

    Glad I found you! Went to those blogs you mentioned- thanks! :) -Jess

  42. Katie May 30, 2012 at 9:18 am #

    Hey Katie and Reuben, just discovered your brilliant blog, your sentiments and interests are very similar to my own, and I often ponder and write about this topic! You are absolutely not alone – I live in a tiny little village up in the French Alps, where there aren’t really any shops or desire for fashion – only nature, mountains, gardening :) BUT on thursday I’m going to the UK (where I’m from) for a month and most of the time I’ll be in London….am I going to go against ALL my principals for a simple life and come back with a bag stuffed with STUFF???!! I think I just have to remind myself I have everything I could ever want and need, and more, and just to calm down and window shop – that is free, and takes up no space!

    I’m off to explore your luscious blog!

    Lots of love, Katie. xxx

  43. gina June 1, 2012 at 2:59 am #

    Katie! First and foremost, well said and you are NOT alone one bit. It’s rampant out there in the blogging world and to be honest, I think it’s the ugliest thing on earth. I too get in the trap of wanting more and getting this or that trend or whatever. And it makes me ill. So it’s a struggle for all of us, I am actually working on a post about this myself!
    The thing is is no matter the house we have or the clothes we have or where they are from, no one is happier. Yes their life might be a little more convenient, but it’s about having inner peace, and finding contentment, and that can not be found in any amount of materialism. It just can’t. It’s IMpossible.
    I know exactly what you mean about the dresses and cardigans: I thrifted ONLY for years and years, I got made fun of and told my clothes smelled etc…I was so weary of that, that I stopped thrifting all together and I started buying new! It was nice for a while to have something CLEAN and new! But that wasn’t me, so now I find that I buy new, and used, and that works well for me. So I can relate to how it can feel with all that “old” stuff!!! I was like that for years. Now I have a mixture. Anyway, thanks for sharing your heart! And apparently thanks for letting me share mine!

  44. Kelly June 6, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

    I hope as one of the people who are constantly posting “what i wore”, things i buy, and places I travel that you are not turned off following my adventures. I can admit I really like having things, i work hard for my money, I like and am grateful to be able to afford a lot of what I desire. In a way I do feel like my wardrobe is a form of expression, i feel better when I’m wearing something fun, But that doesn’t mean it has to be “new”, nor do i like to buy “labels”. I think theres a fine line between filling a void left by something missing in your life, and having things that make you happy on a day to day basis. I don’t regret spending my money on clothing, i plan to leave my vintage to a (hopefully) very grateful daughter one day. But I must say I think buying from local Australian establishments (and in turn, supporting someone else’s dream, business, efforts) is always nicer than buying from somewhere like Modcloth :) thanks for sharing as always Katie! x

    • Katie
      Katie June 6, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

      No, no Kelly, I absolutely LOVE following your adventures and seeing your lovely outfits! (Though I will freely admit to the occasional pang of jealousy over your amazing vintage dress collection!) :) Of course you deserve to spend your hard-earned money on whatever your heart desires! And like I said, I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to surround yourself with beautiful things (I do too!)

      I agree there is a big difference between having nice things that make you happy and trying to fill a void with stuff. I just have to be careful not to fall into the “filling a void” trap and remind myself to stay within my means when buying the nice things. On reflection I realise that in this post it might have come off like everything I own is old and secondhand and daggy and I am some kind of super thrifty frugal lady, but that isn’t really the case. I do have a lot of secondhand and vintage stuff but that is as much because I LOVE that stuff as it is because I don’t have loads of money. And in reality I have more than enough shiny, new stuff too! x

  45. kimberly July 20, 2012 at 8:40 am #

    I struggle with the “wants”, too…especially because a lot of the craft blogs I read tend to be hugely sponsored (which leads to a lot of DIY posts that involve buying shiny new things)…I’ve been slowly dropping those blogs off of my “must read” list and looking in my own little craft room for inspiration instead.

  46. Jessica July 26, 2012 at 1:09 am #

    This is so interesting!

    I literally just did a post two days ago about Needs vs Wants. I listed 5 Needs (or, life goals, if you will) that are totally achievable without money (mostly) and 5 Wants, more so for the fun aspect of sharing our personal style.

    Very good stuff. I just discovered your blog and really dig it :)

  47. Clebs August 20, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

    Bit late to the party here Katie, (and a bit of an avid lurker here as well), but what an amazing post! I know how you feel, but in a slightly different way … hubby and I have really high paying jobs, no penny pinching for us, zero debt, but we suffer from the high STRESS that comes with high paying jobs … we’re always worrying about work and staffing issues, and everything else that comes with Senior Management positions. My health is seriously affected by the work that I do. I’m not complaining. I feel very blessed. But lately, I’ve been wondering what really is important any more … home, family, love, my marriage, my fur baby. But I barely have time to spend with any of those things, or a second in my thoughts to really think about them.

    Crochet is my one escape simply to keep my blood pressure down!! And my sanity!! I read your blog avidly and dream of making the change to a simpler way of life. However it’s really scary! We get caught into the trap of thinking that less money might leave us somehow destitute, and yet we’re so unhappy with how we currently are. It’s so true that materialism can control everything about your life.

    It’s time to figure out what is important for us and make a change.

    Thank you for highlighting this so eloquently. :)

  48. joy August 15, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    A great blog. So refreshing to read. I’m glad materialism hasn’t got the best of everyone…keep spreading the word. #eco living

  49. Katherine December 2, 2013 at 5:13 pm #

    Love your blog and congrats. Do visit mine

  50. robomum December 3, 2013 at 9:15 pm #

    Your bloggy win caught my eye and I thought I’d say hello. Congratulations, firstly and hello!
    I posted about something similar recently. I’m not as thrifty as you but I have been known to op-shop and I never,ever buy clothing unless it’s reduced.
    I do whatever I can to ensure my kids are able to make up their own minds and think for themselves – so I refrain from encouraging labels and fads – most types of consumerism.
    I want them to have a sense of appreciation for what they have.
    I enjoyed your post very much. Robo..

  51. lindsay March 4, 2014 at 3:37 pm #

    Thank you for this post!! The line about hating all of the thrifted cardigans in your closet and wanting something shiny and new describes my feelings toward my closet completely as of late. I honestly typed in “against materialism blogs” into google search and yours was the first option google provided. Reading your blog provided just the right insight and clarity I needed to remind me why living a simpler life is really more fulfilling than buying stuff.

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